Feelings and the Unconscious Mind

FEELINGS AND THE UNCONSCIOUS MIND

Our minds are very powerful. With our conscious minds we are able to do many things - to learn new concepts, to come up with creative ideas, to rationally analize different options we have, to evaluate the most likely outcome of a situation and so on. We use our conscious minds all the time and are very aware that we have them.

There is another part of our mind that we are less aware of: our unconscious mind. Throughout history psychologists and psychoanalysts have had different ways of defining this part of our minds, but they agree on one thing: This part of our mind is able to process and register far more than our conscious mind can. It stores memories, emotions and takes notes of things that might come in handy for us later in life, without us even noticing it. It does this to help us, but if we don’t know that it is there and what it is doing, it can be very confusing.

There are times when we can immediately understand what we are feeling. If we are alone in a dark alley with someone approaching us, we understand why we feel afraid. There are other times that we feel a certain way and we can’t explain it to ourselves. This isn’t because we are strange or because something is wrong with us, this could quite simply be because our subconscious is aware of something that we don’t consciously know.

I very clearly remember when I decided to leave my corporate job after a period of feeling that something just wasn’t right. I couldn’t explain it to myself - it was a great job in a very well reputed company, I was well liked and excelling in my role and had lots of potential to grow and climb the career ladder. But something just didn’t feel right. I tried for a long time to ignore the feeling that something wasn’t right, but that didn’t work. So I took a leap of faith and left that job to figure out what I really wanted (thankfully I had a lot of support around me for what seemed like a crazy thing to do).

What is key when we have a feeling that we can’t quite grasp or understand, is that we don’t dismiss the feeling, and that we don’t ridicule or ignore it. The best way we can respond to this feeling, which is often uncomfortable, is to acknowledge that it is there, trust that it has a reason for being and to try to learn as much as we can from it. More on How to Understand Your Emotions.

Some people call this feeling that we don’t quite understand, intuition or a gut feeling. Whatever we chose to call it, the essential part is that we realize our mind might have more information stored in it than we realize or can process. We can see this as a form of wisdom that we can tap into to help us navigate through life. It’s about learning to trust our intuition and know what we are feeling. You can do this by pausing to concretely identify how you are feeling using your Feeling Magnets or whatever way works best for you.

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